#SailingWhiskey- In her centenary year, the classic West Country ketch Bessie Ellen will be very much keeping to her original role when she carries cargo, notably precious whiskey from Scotland to Drogheda for the Irish Maritime Festival held next weekend (13,14 and 15 June).
The whiskey is from the Bruichladdich Distillery on the Hebridean island of Islay and is also from where a cargo of barley will be carried to symbolise and re-establish the historical trading links between Drogheda's town quays and Islay.
Uon arrival to the festival, bottles from Bruichladdich will be presented to the Chairman of the Port Company, the Mayor of Drogheda and the Captain of the Bessie Ellen.
It is fitting that Bessie Ellen which would have been the very type of vessel to be involved in this trade a 100 years and that of transporting thousands of tonnes of barley and grain exported from the Louth port to the distilling industry along the Scottish western isles.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie she was expected to take week-long voyage where people have an opportunity to sail on board one of the last surviving trading ketches from a fleet of over 700. She hails from an era when working sailing ships were an everyday sight seen trading in Irish ports and harbours.
As owner-master, Captain Nikki Alford explained (also click for video) she regularly carried cargoes among them timber pit-props,coal, china-clay and grain for Guinness. In response to the current cargo carrying voyage she said "We are so looking forward to bringing this special cargo back to Drogheda and very excited at being part of the Maritime Festival."
CEO of Drogheda Port Company, Mr Paul Fleming stated 'This is a fantastic and very authentic way to commemorate Drogheda's rich maritime history. There are over 560 years of distilling, trade and transport history represented between the port, the ship and the distillery. It is thrilling to watch all of this heritage being brought to life at the festival'.
Bruichladdich distillery was established in 1881 and continues to this day to use only the finest barley and traditional distillation methods to produce their world class whisky. Their passionate belief in provenance and the barley itself has resulted in the production of the iconic Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2007 malt whisky where the grain for the whiskey was grown on a local farm beside the distillery.
Master distiller from Bruichladdich distillery Jim McEwan said "we are delighted to be associated with Drogheda Port and the Irish Maritime Festival. This is a fantastic opportunity for us to ship our whisky in the old fashioned way, by sail."